In the face of economic challenges in 2023, several states created stimulus payments to support their residents. As these support opportunities come to an end, many Americans are left seeking other forms of assistance. Fortunately, the federal government has multiple programs designed to provide aid in areas like housing, food, and communications. This article will detail these programs and guide you on how to access them!
What’s Going on With the Stimulus Payments?
As many Americans know, it’s been tough to deal with their bills in this economy. That is why many states in 2023 were handing out stimulus payments. States that were providing support to their residents include:
- New Jersey
However, now that these stimulus checks are coming to an end, what does it mean for people across the country who still need support?
Available Support Programs and How to Benefit
Luckily, there are federal support opportunities that are designed to help! Some available programs include:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)
- Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
- Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
Some individuals find it challenging to afford their grocery expenses. The federal government offers SNAP as a food support program to aid those with low incomes. Recipients receive monthly assistance via an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. The amount one qualifies for depends on several considerations, such as family situation and income, among others. To join the program, reach out to your nearby SNAP office. Keep in mind that application procedures vary by state!
TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, was established to assist families with children in achieving economic self-sufficiency. The program allocates funds to states and territories, allowing them to offer both financial support and various other forms of assistance to eligible residents. TANF provides this support for up to five years, ensuring families have a sustained safety net while they work towards financial stability. Those interested in tapping into these benefits should approach their local TANF office. However, remember that the details of this program, including the assistance and eligibility criteria, can vary depending on the state or territory!
Many people know this program as Section 8. While the program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), its management is done by Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). This is where people in need can hand in their application. The primary aim of the program is to provide those in need with affordable and safe housing choices. Beneficiaries receive vouchers, which they can then utilize to cover rent in the private sector.
For individuals seeking assistance in reducing their energy expenses or protecting their family from potential health hazards, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) might be the solution. Funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), this federal initiative offers weatherization services to achieve these goals. Despite being federally backed, the application process is managed at the state level. Interested parties can apply through their state’s weatherization agency.
Are your phone bills too expensive? The Lifeline program could offer some relief. Eligible participants in the Lifeline Program can receive a monthly discount. The discount amount is worth up to $9.25 for both wired and wireless services, and those residing on tribal lands may get discounts up to $34.25. However, it’s crucial to note that each household is limited to one Lifeline service. For more details or queries, reach out at 800-234-9473 or email [email protected]. When applying, it’s typically necessary to use the National Verifier application system.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers the ACP program, which provides eligible households a monthly internet service discount. The discount amount is worth up to $30, or up to $75 for those on qualifying Tribal lands. Additionally, households can obtain a one-time discount of up to $100 for purchasing an electronic device, such as a laptop or tablet, from specific providers. Each household is limited to one monthly service and one device discount. To apply, visit AffordableConnectivity.gov or mail in a printed application. Some participating providers may have their own application forms for applying the discount to your service plan. After applying, connect with a participating provider to select a service plan.
As 2023 comes to an end, so does the relief that many found in state-provided stimulus payments. This might leave some feeling uncertain about the future, especially given the economic challenges this year has thrown our way. However, it’s heartening to see that the federal government is ready with a bunch of assistance programs to bridge the gap. From food assistance with SNAP to housing vouchers through Section 8, and even support for phone and internet bills, there are several federal opportunities ready to help Americans. It’s important to get familiar with these options and reach out when needed. Though the stimulus payments were a nice boost, the continuing federal support can help keep families afloat.